Bush bathrooms

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Ok. You’ve just booked your first safari and you have a million thoughts running through your head. If you’re like most people, one question that is probably running through your mind is, “what happens when I’m on safari and Mother Nature calls?”

Before I went on my first safari, I must have read 10 different forums to see what people were saying about this subject. I was surprised to see so many responses ranging from ‘it’s no biggie’ to ‘I abstain from all liquids for at least two hours before a safari’. It makes sense that people would have different ways to approach the bush bathroom, as we’re all different. I can only speak for my own safari experiences.

Here’s what happens when Mother Nature calls for guided safaris (I have never been on a self-drive safari). You let the guide know that you’d like to be one with nature. He can quickly tell if you’re in an area even worth considering. If it’s not (and this happened to me a few times), you’ll get the head shake and be told that it is not safe right now. If you are in an area that is considered safe, the guide will normally pop out of the vehicle first and walk around it to ensure all is well. Once the area is determined safe, you are free to hop out and do your business directly behind the vehicle. Doing your business behind the vehicle not only means you are close enough to the vehicle to hop in, should anything happen, but it also prevents you from walking out in the tall grass, which just may be hiding a sleeping animal or two.

I will admit that I did decrease my consumption of liquids while on safari, as I really didn’t like the idea of a bush bathroom. The crepuscular times of day (sunrise and sunset), are the busiest times of day in the bush. This is because it happens to be when many of the animals are active. This also means you will most likely encounter other vehicles at this time. So, you may be prevented from having a bush bathroom not because of animal danger, but because of human intervention. I will say that in my experience, most safari drives are planned around these crepuscular hours, and that an early-morning game drive and a post-lunch game drive are de rigueur. Have two main game drives also means that you can be back to camp around lunch time, where you can eat and drink and relax for a few hours. I found that this pretty much eliminated the need for most bush bathrooms.

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